A story many will know…

One day, the master called in three servants and announced that he would be taking a long trip far away and would be leaving his treasure in their hands while gone. The master stood before his trusted servants and offered talents (bags of silver) to each.

The first servant held out his hands as his master placed five talents in his arms and asked that they be well cared for. The second servant stretched out his hands and was given two talents and asked that they be cared for. The servant was honored to have these talents and held them closely. The master walked over to the third servant and placed on talent in his hands and again, asked his servant to care for his talents until he would return.

The master would soon leave and be gone for some time. One servant took his talents into town and invested them. He would go on to earn five more talents as a result of his decision. The second servant also entered town and used his two talents to earn him two more for his efforts. The third servant felt the other two were being foolish by taking so much risk with their masters talents, that he took his one talent and buried it for safety to assure he would not risk losing it before his masters return.

The master would eventually return and upon his arrival, asked to see the three servants. Once they arrived, the master asked his servants about the talents and what became of them. The servants assured their master that the talents had not been lost.

The first servant explained that he had invested his five talents and that had garnered five more talents as well. The master was happy and commended the servant for his efforts. The second servant then explained that he too had gone to town and invested his two talents and had doubled his investment, showing the four talents to his master. Again, the master commended the servant for his efforts. The third servant explained that he had been most careful with his one talent. So much, that he buried it in the ground so it would not be lost until the masters return.

It was here that the master ordered that the talent be taken from the third servant and given to the first. The third servant was shocked as the master explained that if he knew that the master needed the money so much, why he did not invest it like the others and earn him interest on his one talent.

The moral of this story is that to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. Mathew 25:29

All to often, we are given opportunities that we doubt, fear or simply feel we can’t achieve. Often giving up before we even give something our first effort. If something worries you and you know it is still the right thing to do, there is a reason you should try. If you allow your worries to multiply to the point that you do nothing with your moments in life, you will find the old saying true, ‘If you don’t you it, you lose it’.

As your now reading this, I am 2 days away from sitting in Chicago and preparing to give my presentation to members of the Illinois SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators). Is it a big place? You bet it is! Am I a bit nervous? You bet I am! But that nervousness is the result of working hard for 14 years when most of the time, others had no idea just how hard I was working! As I’m getting ready to invest my talents, I have nothing but faith it will yield a reward regardless of what type it may be. I do this because I want more and will not allow fear to force me to bury my hopes and dreams in the dirt, only to find out one day that I had a chance and lost it.

In 2 days, I will stand on the roof of the hotel and see the lights of Chicago and invest in what got me here. Friday morning my son, Lynden and I will walk two blocks to Lake Michigan and take our run on the beach together.

“When your tired, it’s a sign that your almost at the end of your fight!” – TD Jakes

*Catch me Live on Facebook @levibfoxbooks Thursday, Sept. 14th between 7-9 p.m. CST!

In Remembrance

Posted: September 11, 2017 in Uncategorized
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9 Days Until Chicago!

Posted: September 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

DRIVE!!!

Posted: September 4, 2017 in Uncategorized
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The past couple of days have been remarkable in my pursuit for clarity!

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I loaded my printer with new ink cartridges and spent several hours on the web, looking for everything in my life that means something to me. Basically, what I wanted out of my life. I began looking at homes, interiors, pools, vehicles, long lines at book stores and forms of giving that got me so excited that I had to print them off. In the end, I lined one wall of my kitchen with nothing but my expectations, i.e. my Vision Board. I have looked at it over the past two days and focus. Seeing is believing and when I look at what I am working towards, it pulls me one step closer to just that. It makes me progress further and as speaker, Tony Robbins says, “Happiness Comes From Progress!”

As for this morning, I reached a milestone in my life. I finished reading Tony Robbins 543 page book: Awaken The Giant Within. It is something for me because the largest book I have ever read before that was maybe around 270 pages. This book is close to 250 pages longer than that, proving that it can be done when your focused on it!

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After reading zero books for five years, this marks my 7th book in just over a year and a total of 1,704 pages total! When I made the decision to change my life just over a year and half ago, I resolved to never turn back! I recommend any of these books if anyone is serious about make a change and leading an impactful life!

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Now as for tomorrow morning, I am excited to begin my 8th book, Tony Robbins: Notes From A Friend. Staying on coarse to reading as much as I can to continue growing myself and switching over to an impactful life! Here we go guys, I’m all in!! PLUS, it’s only 10 days until Chicago!!! I want to invite you to watch my presentation live on Facebook by going to my page: Follow me live on Sept. 14th 7-9 p.m. CST. Time to get on my column today for the paper and get a run through in for the Chicago presentation and a physical run before dusk! Have a great day everyone!

 

Grow Through, What You Go Through

 

I was four or five years old and with my family at a cookout. The people we were visiting had an in-ground pool and I was in the shallow end swimming around because my feet touched the bottom and I had plenty of room to play. It was a great day and I had a lot of fun in the pool.

After a long while, I had decided that I wanted to get out for a while and had a crazy idea that I wanted to get out of the pool a different way. I did not want to climb out of the built-in steps that was at the in the shallow end. I wanted to climb out using the ladder that was located on the other side of the rope in the deep end.

I walked up to the rope and saw a small ledge that ran around the deep end that was the same height as the shallow end. I wasn’t supposed to cross the rope but the ladder was not far and I knew I could make it. I duct under the rope and used my tip toes on the ledge to stay above water. I was halfway to the ladder and everything was going fine, about five more steps and I would grab hold of the ladder and get out of the pool.

Thinking of how close I was getting to the ladder distracted my mind from what I was doing and my toes slipped off of the narrow ledge and I went under the water. I remember hitting my rear on the slope of the pools deep end and sliding to the drain at the bottom. The deep end was about 14 feet and I was that far under water, unable to swim and seeing nothing but blue color. I remember hearing the sound of the drain as it sucked in water to recycle through the filter and being to young to understand death, I was not afraid of dying but scared only because I could not breath.

The next thing I recall was a loud splash in the water and a pair of arms reaching around me and thrusting me to the surface where half a dozen arms quickly pulled me out of the water. I began coughing hard and having trouble taking a breath, even though I had air to breathe. It would not be long, however, before I was able to breathe fully and the coughing began to lessen. Soon, I was breathing slowly and the coughing went away and I sat in a chair for everyone to see that I was alright in the event I needed to see a doctor.

For the following year, I would not take a bath in any bathtub because of the drain that was under the water, just the sound of a drain being pulled scared me.

I would go the next 34 years with a strong fear of water. It would often take me a long amount of time to me able to swim in an above ground pool and most times, I would not swim in an in-ground one. In all of those years, I never got on a boat or touched the water of a lake.

Fast forward from being four or five to thirty-eight and spending the last year and a half developing a powerful mindset for growth and elevation, this past Father’s Day Weekend, I felt a nerve racking desire to face that tri-decade fear! I went with Lynden, Ethan, Rylen and some of their other family to Mill Creek Lake in Marshall, Illinois. There, we rented a cabin, played checkers at night, grilled out and made S’mores.

On Saturday, I went down to the dock with my kids and we all put our feet in the water. This was a big step for me to walk on the dock, let alone put my feet in the water. We watched fish swim around and splashed in the water with out feet. Then their uncle arrived with his boat and asked if we would like to go out on the water for the day. I knew then that it was time to take my mindset to the next level!

I walked onto their dock and climbed into the boat and as we all got seated and Ethan and Rylen put on their life vest, I watched as the water was only several inches from where I was sitting, yet, I made up my mind I had to make good on my challenge. We then backed away from the dock and I gripped the sidebar and held on as the boat took off.

The water splashed everywhere and and felt that fear in my face, reminding me that he was very much there. I remained focused and soon we found a cove to drop anchor so everyone could swim safely. Then, Ethan asked if I would get in and I saw that as another challenge. I said yes and asked him to give me a minute. I then took off my shirt and sat on the deck of the boat. Then, with my heart beating fast, I grabbed a hold of the deck rail and jumped into the lake! It was a couple seconds later that the fear was pushed aside and a reward revealed itself. That reward was the feeling of triumph!

Over the next couple of hours, we took the kids in the tube, drove across the lake and I got into the water a second time and swam for a long time again. When it came time for grilling out, we took one more lap around the lake and I call that my victory lap, and as the weekend drew to a end, I went to that next level and realized that I could do it, and so can you!

It may not be water for you, it may be a new job, buying a house, moving or a million other things. Just know that if deep inside your really wanting to conquer that fear, your biggest reward will be doing just that! When things happen in life, we have only two choices, define it or let it define us, that’s it no choice number three. Move ahead in life by always pushing yourself and going to the next level. The sky is limit!

“Grow through, what you go through!” – Gary Vaynerchuk

 

A Way, When There Seems To Be No Way

 

Have you ever put time into something and as time past, felt that you were spinning your wheels or grinding your gears trying to make something happen? I have! You see, my writing career didn’t start yesterday, I didn’t wake up this morning and just sell 1,000 copies of Barney & Lexi: Lost In Lawrenceville. I wasn’t traveling to schools in the early stages of my career either, in fact, I can’t begin to count how many times I felt like I was spinning my wheels with opportunity and there were a few times that I really felt like my gears were grinding for sure!

My career as a writer began in 2003, when Lynden was born. I would get up with him throughout the night and once he began to have a fairly regular pattern of sleeping, I began spending the time in between his waking up, writing my first book, The Adventures of Marky, Slash & Levy. Those moments were usually very late at night, by myself in a room with only a desk lamp on and just plugging away at my keyboard. No one knew what I was doing, no one outside Lawrence County knew my name or even knew I was a writer.

In those years that followed, I wondered if I would ever make it happen. Would my work ever be read by young readers? Would I ever do a book signing? Would I ever get a big break? All three answers are YES! Although I had no idea in those early days. I have sold over 1,000 books this year, done dozens of signings and my big break will come on September 14th when I travel to Chicago and speak to the largest children’s literary group in the United States.

Sometimes, I get told that I’m ‘just lucky’, or that ‘success just happens overnight’. I actually don’t believe in luck in the manner that it is viewed today. I believe that luck is the moment that preparedness meets opportunity. I also believe that success is no ‘overnight’ thing. I thought about quitting a few times and sometimes, had to walk away from my desk for a few months to take everything in and find clarity. Then it was right back to it, because I knew what I really wanted and had to see it through.

For years, I felt like I had little money, few connections and even less opportunity. For years I had no Facebook page, and then I finally created one and only used that to connect with others for the next ten years. I look back now and see that I had so many outlets but let fear keep me from using them. Then, one day, I looked in the mirror and told myself, “There will be doubters, you will be laughed at, mocked and ignored. Levi, your going to fail and that’s alright because you will learn and grow stronger. Carry those fears right into battle and watch them disappear!” I remember that day well.

I sat down and began learning Social Media. I began with no media and now use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to put my passion out there. This has given me so much back and while I could spend the time wishing I had done that sooner, I won’t waste my time with the past. I’m heading forward and refuse to look back.

I feel like it is a perfect time to retell the story of the Japanese Bambo Tree. The Japanese Bambo Tree remains a nut underground for five years. During that time, it must be watered and fertilized daily to survive or it will die. For five years, there will be no results (much like when we feel we are spinning our wheels and grinding gears). Then, something big happens and the tree sprouts through the surface and will grow 90 feet in one year! It took five years to actually grow that 90 feet though. It may have only seemed like a buried nut but during that time underground, that nut was earning its right to live and grow.

You may be sitting right now and wondering what else you can do to keep moving towards your dream. One thing for sure is to keep doing what your doing if it is yielding any type of result. If it isn’t, can you change anything about it to help it grow? Are you using Social Media to your advantage? Are you letting fear keep you from one avenue or another? Look in the mirror and tell yourself that regardless of any outcome, YOUR GOING TO MAKE IT, and the doors will open up as you press forward. I can’t explain it but the harder I push, the more doors that open for me, something I doubted years ago. Never doubt that there is a way, when there seems to be no way!

“Everything is IMPOSSIBLE, until someone crazy enough comes along and makes it POSSIBLE!”
– CT Fletcher

I want to share a piece of my Go2Grow presentation. My hope is that you will find value in my story!

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Today, I completed my outline for my SCBWI presentation in Chicago next month. 10 pages of, what I feel, a well laid out blueprint of what makes my elementary school presentations so successful. Now that it is printed and covered, I’m ready for 27 days of run through to get it down! I’m gonna crush this one come September 14th!!

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